By David Scott Peters
In this post I covered the pitfalls of not communicating with your management team and offered up a solution to avoid a failure to communicate. The solution is to have weekly managers meetings.
To begin having effective managers meetings, follow this four-step process that prepares everyone for this new activity in the routine.
Step one is the planning meeting. This is the step where you look at last week’s priorities and goals and audit where they are. Did they get accomplished, did you hit your goals or were there things that happened that delayed results? Take the time to really look at things with a detailed eye.
Next, create your list of goals for you and your team for the upcoming week. Be specific and clear in the list of what you want done, how you want it done, how well you want it done and more importantly by when. Without deadlines nothing would get done.
Step one applies to every restaurant owner whether you have a partner or not. The only difference is when you have a partner, this step becomes even more important.
Too often in independent restaurants, partners don’t communicate. As a result, they send mixed signals to their employees and managers because they ask them to do two completely opposite things or get the same thing done two completely different ways. Or worse, they do this directly in front the employee resulting in an argument/fight between the partners.
This is the quickest way to get your employees to tune you out and then do whatever they want. The employee knows that they can just point fingers to the other partner and there will be no recourse.
If you have a partner this is the most important step because it puts you both on the same page, allowing you to all communicate the same game plan from the same playbook.
Even if you don’t have a partner, you can create a similar challenge when you continue to change your mind on how you want something done, telling one manager and then getting mad at another because they aren’t doing it the new way, even though they never got the message.
Meet with your general manager and communicate the goals for the next week. Gather your general manager’s priorities that need to be addressed and added to the list. This is your opportunity to make sure your general manager is on the same page as you. You are also setting the general manager up for success to conduct an effective and efficient managers meeting.
Step three is the agenda. Now that your general manager has your list of goals for the week, he or she will create an agenda for the meeting. The agenda should include such things as a start time and a finish time and topics to be addressed.
Before the meeting, clearly communicate what ALL of the other managers will need to bring to the meeting. If any of the other managers have something they want to add to the agenda, they need to get it to the general manager at least two days before the managers meeting.
Please note that your manager meeting should not be scheduled for anything more than 90 minutes. Anything longer becomes counterproductive.
Step four is conducting the actual meeting. One of the biggest questions I get all the time is, “I’m the owner, shouldn’t I conduct the meeting?” The short answer is NO, unless you fulfill the general manager role as well. Your general manager is supposed to execute the plan. He or she is going to be held accountable for these goals, so you need to put them in a leadership role and demonstrate that the general manager is the other managers’ direct supervisor.
When conducting the meeting, the general manager will do about 25 percent to no more than 50 percent of the talking. This is because your managers have come to the meetings knowing what they are responsible for. They will have brought the correct information from cost of goods sold and labor costs to employee issues to project updates. They will present to the group. You want every manager engaged and participating in the meeting.
Be sure to stick to this agenda. If and when a NEW topic comes up, make sure you determine if it should be tabled until the next meeting or if you need to set up a sidebar meeting after the manager meeting. Do not add it on the fly. When you don’t control the topics, start and stop time, managers meetings go forever. Anything longer than 90 minutes creates an environment where your mangers get frustrated because they feel you don’t value their time and quite frankly, they start tuning you out.
What day you choose for your manager meeting is up to you. It can be determined based on the day all managers would be in the building anyway, or what day inconveniences the fewest managers.
An example might look like this:
Owners meet on Tuesday allowing the general manager to complete the budget variance reports for the past week so the owners have the numbers.
On Wednesday the owners and general manager meet to get on the same page and set the agenda.
On Thursday the general manager conducts the managers meeting.
If you’re tired of things not getting done, tired of not making the money your restaurant should be making and/or tired of being frustrated on a daily basis with everyone’s performance — owner or manager — then you’ll want to follow the four simple steps in this article. Just remember it’s not only about being organized, it’s also about being consistent. This comes from conducting the managers meeting weekly.
If you need a sounding board or some additional assistance on following these steps toward better communication and effective manager meetings, please contact us. You can call us at 1-877-45-SMART (457-6278) or request that we contact you.
David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the developer of SMART Systems Pro, an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He is best known as the SMART Systems guy who can walk into any restaurant and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door… Guaranteed! Learn more at www.TheRestaurantExpert.com.